Training Volume

A hot topic in the fitness realm is training volume! How much is too much or too little for hypertrophy. I am in the camp that thinks it’s a case by cases basis because of everyone’s unique body requirements. Thus leading me to make individualized plans for trainees rather than a one size fits all program. Reading the best of MASS 2020 – 2021 has nudged me further into this camp as the first article discusses a study that increases quad training volume based on previous training history.

The study & Results:

The study consisted of 16 trained individuals. The goal was to look at the hypertrophic effects of a 20% increase in training volume vs a standardized approach of 22 sets. The percentage came from the individuals previous training two weeks prior and implemented through a unilateral leg approach. It lasted eight weeks with subjects training twice a week doing unilateral leg press and knee extensions.

At the end of the eight weeks, the individualized condition (20% increase) yielded more growth than the standardized.


As an enthusiast and coach, these results are promising, using a trainee’s history vs standardized volume numbers. It creates a stronger relationship between volume and individual needs instead of global averages. But I know this is just one study that needs to be repeated many more times before saying that this is truly the optimal way of training.

However, it sheds some light on jumping to high training volumes that could lead to overtraining and dialling it back a little to aid in muscle recovery. In each instance finding, an individualized volume leads to optimal results.

Now, the question is what is the best increase percentage 20, 30, 40, 50 or some mixture of all at different times. Hopefully, a study on this will shed light on a range rather exact numbers.


The reason for bringing up this study is because it is opening the door for something I believe is essential in fitness. One on one programs made for each person instead of producing one size fits all programs for 20 or 30 dollars to capitalize on the masses. Don’t get me wrong, it’s efficient to make programs this way and generate the most money, but fitness and nutrition shouldn’t be about the money.

That said, I know everyone has to make a living and pay the bills. Yet, that should mean putting in the work rather than dishing out the same plan over and over again.

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Ethan is a self-motivated McGill graduate with strong technical expertise, social & digital marketing experience. His work relies on strong communication skills and experience interacting with various levels of stakeholders. Skills: Adept at creating device-adaptive websites and compelling e-commerce stores. Over 8 years of experience in communications, videography and web design, with a thorough understanding of cross-media processes from concept to completion.

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